If you and the other parent can agree on how to provide child maintenance for your child without getting the courts or the CSA involved – this is called a private agreement. This article explains about private agreements and includes the actual form that you can complete together with your spouse.
What is child maintenance?
All parents have a responsibility to provide financially for their child even if they live apart from the child and the other parent. Child maintenance is regular, reliable financial support that helps towards the child’s everyday living costs. The parent who is not the child’s main day-to-day carer pays child maintenance to the parent who is the main carer.
What is a private agreement?
If you and the other parent can agree on how to provide child maintenance for your child without getting the courts or the CSA involved – this is called a private agreement. If you feel able to work with the other parent, then this could be an option for you. If you are not the parent of a child but you do provide the main day-to-day care for that child, you can also put in place a private agreement with the parent who is not the main carer.
Keeping up payments
One downside to a private agreement is that it’s not usually legally binding or enforceable. If the parent who is supposed to pay fails to pay the agreed amount, or your private agreement fails for any reason, another option is for you to use the CSA. The CSA can put in place an arrangement that can be collected and legally enforced on your behalf.
Why is it a good idea?
If you can make a private agreement, it can help to keep things on good terms with the other parent. It costs nothing to set up and nobody else needs to get involved. Plus, the two of you may be able to agree new terms quickly and easily, as your circumstances change.
Is a private agreement right for me and my child?
You know your situation better than anyone else. If you, as parents, think you can reach an agreement between yourselves, it may be worth trying. If that’s not possible, then you can ask the CSA to put in place an arrangement that can be enforced.
What if there’s more than one child involved?
If you’ve got more than one child with the same parent, you may be able to come to an agreement on all of your children at the same time. Our form has space for four children. If you have children with more than one person, you’ll have to come to an agreement with each of them individually.
What if the other parent doesn’t do what we’ve agreed?
If your private agreement breaks down, talk to the other parent or call Child Maintenance Options for information on renegotiating your agreement. If that doesn’t work you can get the CSA involved. Unlike private agreements, CSA arrangements can be enforced. So if a parent doesn’t pay, the CSA can use their legal powers to get maintenance paid for your child. You can call the CSA on 0845 713 3133 or visit www.csa.gov.uk if you’d like to find out more.